7 items from 2016
Composer John Williams is the rare craftsman to be honored with an AFI Achievement Award, and the AFI should do it more often. Steven Spielberg and George Lucas maneuvered the AFI tribute (held June 9 at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre) toward excellence and maximum cooperation on all fronts, and the 44th annual event proved one of the most satisfying in years.
How can you lose when the honoree composed the world’s most hummable and instantly identifiable themes —including “Star Wars,” the Richard Donner “Superman,” Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, and 27 Spielberg movies over 43 years, from “Jaws” (1975), “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (1977) and “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” (1982) to “Jurassic Park” (1993), “Schindler’s List” (1993) and “Saving Private Ryan” (1998). (Williams plans to score Spielberg’s Indiana Jones movie and “Ready Player One” and possibly “Star Wars 8.”) All told, the 84-year-old composer has more than 150 credits across seven decades.
“Somehow he’s composed the music of our lives, »
- Anne Thompson
Now, I want to preface this piece by saying that I am a massive fan of Hans Zimmer, truly one of the most innovative and compelling forces in film music (when he chooses to be). From his revolutionary synth breakout with the likes of Rain Man and Driving Miss Daisy in the 1980s to the thunderous action of Backdraft and his multi-faceted collaborations with Ridley Scott (Thelma and Louise, Gladiator, Hannibal et al), Zimmer is a superb storyteller who doesn’t deserve the mud that is often slung at him. On tour in the UK at the moment, Zimmer has recently courted a lot of press attention with his high-profile announcement that he is to ‘retire’ from scoring superhero movies.
And this brings me to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. »
- Sean Wilson
That scarlet woman Ingrid is back from exile, and hypocritical Hollywood is not complaining -- Anatole Litvak and Arthur Laurents make an intriguing romantic-psychological mystery of a bogus Romanoff Duchess who surfaces in 1928 Paris to claim the crown fortune. Good roles for Yul Brynner and Helen Hayes as well. It's a strange intersection of scandal, history and swindlers that may have found the real item... and maybe not. Anastasia Blu-ray Twilight Time Limited Edition 1956 / Color / 2:35 widescreen / 105 min. / Ship Date March 15, 2016 / available through Twilight Time Movies / 29.95 Starring Ingrid Bergman, Yul Brynner, Helen Hayes, Akim Tamiroff, Martita Hunt, Felix Aylmer, Sacha Pitoeff, Ivan Desny, Natalie Schafer, Karel Stepanek Cinematography Jack Hildyard Art Direction Andrej Andrejew, Bill Andrews Film Editor Bert Bates Original Music Alfred Newman Written by Arthur Laurents from a play by Marcelle Maurette Produced by Buddy Adler Directed by Anatole Litvak
Reviewed by Glenn Erickson
The cleverly written and »
- Glenn Erickson
John Williams is nominated for his 50th Academy Award as a composer this year. He's won five so far, and rightly so: Williams' contributions to film contain some of 20th century's most recognizable themes. You'd be hard-pressed to find an individual who couldn't warble at least one of his scores, and it's fitting that he's been nominated for his continued work on Star Wars, a franchise that owes at least part of its popularity to Williams's immortal theme. With 50 nominations and five wins, you'd think Williams would be in the running for some Oscar records, wouldn't you? Well, no, actually. »
- Alex Heigl, @alex_heigl
Otto Preminger looks at police corruption and comes up with a classy noir starring Dana Andrews as a rogue cop and Gene Tierney as the woman whose father he accidentally frames for murder. With Karl Malden, Gary Merrill and velvety-slick B&W cinematography by Joseph Lashelle. Where the Sidewalk Ends Blu-ray Twilight Time Limited Edition 1950 / B&W / 1:37 Academy / 95 min. / Ship Date February 9, 2016 / available through Twilight Time Movies / 29.95 Starring Dana Andrews, Gene Tierney, Gary Merrill, Bert Freed, Tom Tully, Karl Malden, Ruth Donnelly, Craig Stevens. Cinematography Joseph Lashelle Art Direction J. Russell Spencer, Lyle Wheeler Film Editor Louis R. Loeffler Original Music Cyril J. Mockridge Written by Ben Hecht, Robert E. Kent, Frank P. Rosenberg, Victor Trivas from the novel Night Cry by William L. Stuart Produced and Directed by Otto Preminger
Reviewed by Glenn Erickson
Want to see an example of a gloriously polished studio production, a film noir »
- Glenn Erickson
Cat Grant not accepting Kara Danvers’ statement that she (Kara) is not Supergirl
Rey: There are stories about what happened.
Han Solo: It’s true. All of it. The Dark Side. The Jedi. They’re real.
Listen Up! Spoilers Abound, So If You Don’t Want To Know, Don’t Read This Column.
A few weeks ago, four days before Christmas to be exact, I said that I loved Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and had problems with Supergirl. While I still love Episode VI of a saga that took place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, there are two things that bother me. Silly things, to be sure, but just enough to pick at my enjoyment a teensy bit: »
- Mindy Newell
Close-Up is a column that spotlights films now playing on Mubi. Ball of Fire is playing on Mubi in the Us January 8 through February 7, 2016.To rephrase a popular literary adage, one shouldn’t judge a film by its credits. Many a noteworthy roster of talent has yielded a less than superior motion picture. Such is not the case, however, with the 1941 Samuel Goldwyn production, Ball of Fire. Aside from the legendary producer, who had over 100 movies under his belt by this point in his career, the film boasts an Oscar-nominated story by Thomas Monroe and Billy Wilder, a script by Wilder and frequent co-writer Charles Brackett, a supporting cast of famous faces like Dana Andrews, Dan Duryea, and Elisha Cook Jr., and superb star turns by Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck. Behind the camera, the music is by Alfred Newman, Gregg Toland is the cinematographer, Daniel Mandell is the editor, »
- Jeremy Carr
7 items from 2016
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